Import Illustrator Files

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Danimal
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Post by Danimal » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:38 pm

heyvern wrote:I just have to laugh a little when I have these conversations. When I first started I felt EXACTLY the same as you... all those steps... the silly tools etc etc...
Well at least you understand where I'm coming from...
heyvern wrote:You mentioned that you have to close a shape to fill it? And this is terrible? What about the fact that in Illustrator you can't connect the end of a stroke to the middle of another stroke? You have to have doubled lines for adjacent shapes that share the same stroke in AI.
I've never used Illustrator but do have Freehand which is mind-bogglingly difficult to use, yes.

The thing is, I guess my drawing style is different. For instance, when drawing a person's head I typically draw the face and then the hair on top of it, not the entire head. Using Flash I can fill those two shapes because they're "joined" in the fact that the drawn lines touch (or not even completely touching since Flash can "close gaps" when filling - a wonderful feature). In AS I would have to draw the whole head, weld the points, then the hairline, weld the points... ugh, so many &$^$*(@ steps!!!

Another thing - and this is again my inexperience I'm sure since I've only been tinkering with the program a month now - but in Flash I can use the paintbrush tool and select "paint inside" to create shading, like a subtle shadow on the jawline or other edges of the character. Can't for the life of me figure out how to do this in AS without using a gradient or halo fill, neither seems to quite look right as the shadow shouldn't go all the way around the character. I'm sure once again I'm doing something wrong here?

It's got to be me. This program is awesome and the animation end of it is so simple that I look forward to creating my first cartoon on it. But the thought of drawing the characters has me cringing. I must be making it more difficult that need be perhaps?

Heyvern, on an unrelated note, thanks so much for all your contributions to the forum and to the software itself. You are a true asset to this community :)
~Danimal
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slowtiger
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Post by slowtiger » Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:01 pm

Having experience in Flash, FreeHand, Illustrator, AS, Photoshop, Painter, and Mirage, I feel qualified to say: don't blame the tool.

A vector program is better for constructing images, a bitmap program is better for painting images. Every time a vector program borrows tool concepts from a bitmap program, there has to be a drawback. In Flash this is the underlying concept of outlines-as-shapes - doesn't matter as long as you stay in Flash, makes a big pain in the ass when you have to transfer Flash artwork into AI and AS.

If you have only one tool, you have to deal with its restrictions. If you are lucky and have a variety of programs, you can concentrate on the exact style you want to have first, then choose the appropriate workflow and software to create it.

(I still have to test Adobe's new CS3, where all programs boast to have the same tools and user interface.)
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stinkyu111
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Post by stinkyu111 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:00 pm

Hi all, i;m new to ASpro and i found i'm even more newbie to the idea of vector art

until i seen the tutorial of the hippo by Philippe Cizaire on the efronteir tutorials page

the first part Draw a circle and then use script/draw/split curve ...to add point to the circle and move the points into the shape you want ... i'm in love with ASp vectors now, i don't even have to even use a pen mouse to make what i want.

split curve rocks, especially with the added 2 different effects and you can add transparency too the shape colour

i'm working through some old how to draw books of Chris Hart and using ASpro to create the finshed work. I'm liking the process better then trying to paint the shapes in photoshop or artrage ( both are great tools ) but i found the AS vector pretty fast for the complete look of the cartoon i wanted

Steve

i would show a few pictures but i can't figure out the img part of add images to the form
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Post by Danimal » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:35 pm

slowtiger wrote:(I still have to test Adobe's new CS3, where all programs boast to have the same tools and user interface.)
I've tried the Flash CS3 and for my money it's still exactly the same, they just want to charge another couple hundred dollars. This is to be expected when Adobe (aka, money making machine) bought them out.
~Danimal
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Post by Danimal » Sat Nov 17, 2007 1:49 pm

As I thought, I was at fault for a huge part of my difficulties. While messing around I noticed the "Autofill" and "Auto Close" check boxes in the freehand tool. This has made drawing a million times easier now. I imported a picture and have been tracing it and have been very pleasantly surprised with the results so far.

I also love the different brushes. My character has a kind of "stubble" which took forever on Flash but only a couple of clicks of that "spotty" brush to achieve in AS.

Getting hooked on it...
~Danimal
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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:10 pm

I will make another confession.

When I was first using Moho(AS) I think... possibly... I posted some "anti-AS-Drawing-tool" rants. I am actually afraid to go back and look at my early posts because it might make me look like a huge hypocrite. ;) I kept thinking the same thing, "what a great program! Why are the tools so bad?". I think some of my posts were "fix this!" and "this is stupid". And good greif! No curve handles!!! Who came up with THAT idea!? No eye dropper tool? What the freaking heck?! I also remember the absolutely incredible frustration trying to understand fills and shapes and creating them. It was so different and weird. I DID NOT like it at all.

;)

Considering how I really jump on people sometimes for criticizing the drawing tools in AS now days... I guess I am a bit of a hypocrite. But at least I know from experience it gets better.

The one thing that saved it for me were the wicked cool bones and discovering the scripting feature. Flash was a nightmare for 2D character animation. NO BONES, and once I realized that anyone could create new tools... yeehaaa! I remember trying to create my first replacement for the point selection tool. That was the worse tool in my opinion. Having 2 tools, one to select multiple points and one to move points. Only select and move one point at a time? What a joke.

My first tool script stank up the place... but it worked... a bit. A user 7feet was the scripting guru at the time. He made his own version which was much better. Then Fazek came along and he made a set of tools which are my standard tools now.

I remember my frustration with bone limitations. So I wrote layer scripts to fix those things. Then I discovered the power of bone constraints. That was it for me. I loved this new program. This cheap funky program that almost no one had heard of. With the help of new drawing tools and scripting I got past the drawing tools "oddness" pretty quickly.

I very much remember the early frustrations. I remember it well. I know exactly what you are talking about. EXACTLY!!!

-vern
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Post by Danimal » Sat Nov 17, 2007 5:47 pm

I don't consider you a hypocrite at all, in fact it was your stubbornness for saying how good the drawing was in AS that kept me at it - and I'm glad I did!

How about that eyedropper problem - anyone tackle that yet? Maybe make a custom tool for that?
~Danimal
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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Sat Nov 17, 2007 7:29 pm

Unfortunately a "color" eye dropper is impossible. There is no way to select colors from screen pixels with the scripting options available. Even if you could I don't know how you would apply that to the style palette window.

I was thinking possibly... something like the existing paint bucket tool... but in reverse. You can grab the color from the selected shape... then extract that color and apply it somehow to another shape

To be honest there are some third party color selection tools that work... good enough. My own workarounds work okay for me for now.


-vern
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Post by Danimal » Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:44 pm

I just noticed that you can import an image to serve as a color pallette - how COOL! Very "eyedropper" like. This software rocks!

I've been rather successfuly toying around with the drawing toold and LOVE this program! Thanks for encouraging me, heyvern. This program is very easy. One thing I've noticed is it does make a rather large amount of points in my drawings. Should I be concerned about file size?

If anyone would like I can post some examples of the drawings I've done with this AMAZING software!
~Danimal
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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Sun Dec 02, 2007 1:00 am

Illustrator or EPS import does create more points in AS than you need.

I haven't done a lot of testing for this but I think it pretty much doubles the number of points in the AI or EPS file. The more points in the AI file the better the curve match... but it is never perfect.

For example if you draw a circle in AI (4 points) and import it into AS, you will have a "circle" with 8 points, but it will not be a very good circle. If you add anchor points to the circle in AI you now have a perfect circle but it has 8 points. Import that into AS and the circle will have 16 points but it will be much smoother or closer to a circular shape.

The key is to draw "differently" in AI when you know it will be imported to AS. Don't try to reduce the number of points in AI by using extreme bias manipulation. For example if you twist and turn the curve bias handles in AI to create an unusual curve shape this won't import accurately in AS. You would want to draw that curve in AI using "regular" points with the curve handles at right angles to the curve (the same way AS does). And always remember that you will get double the points once imported. You almost want to "simulate" drawing in AS while drawing AI. This is why I prefer drawing in AS. The import from AI is never that accurate and if I need to change my "AI drawing style" anyway why not draw in AS?

-vern
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mkelley
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Post by mkelley » Sun Dec 02, 2007 2:24 am

I'm a newbee here, but I don't find the points from AI to AS to be doubled at all.

I use the pencil tool exclusively, and find it's *exactly* the same number of points when imported to AS. The shapes match up as well, too (so do the colors). Truly, I haven't found anything at all to be different about the AI import (I'm using CS3 AI right now but saving, of course, to AI 8).

I was really worried about this because I've been using AI since version 3 (so I'm kinda familiar with it :>). I much prefer drawing in it because I like the arrangement of shapes (I still can't figure out how to order shapes in AS) as well as using the pencil to redraw part of a line quickly. I *do* like the ability in AS to take a shape and subdivide it for multiple color fills, but I don't try to do too much fancy coloring in AI anyway and do the final stuff in AS.

I find the whole paradigm of points to shapes confusing in AS anyway -- when is a shape not a shape? (When it's ajar -- sorry, old punchline). Anyway, it always confuses me to have to fill a "shape" that already seems to be a shape to me but isn't until I tell it it's a shape -- very weird.

But it's nice to have the AI import so folks can work whichever way they find the easiest because there's no question that working with vectors is the way to go in AS.
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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:59 am

I'm a newbee here, but I don't find the points from AI to AS to be doubled at all.
Are you sure about that? I did a whole bunch of tests since my last post (and using the pencil tool) and in every case the point count was doubled exactly. An extra point in AS between each point in the AI file.

I even did a 16 point circle in AI and still got 32 point circle in AS even though this would not have been necessary to maintain the curvature. I think this must be how the AI/EPS import works.

EDIT:
Except for PEAKED points! Which makes perfect sense. If the points in AI have no curves or curve handles then it is a 1 to 1 conversion.


p.s. I also found that saving as version 5.5 illustrator cuts the import time in half. It imports twice as fast if not faster into AS.

-vern
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mkelley
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Post by mkelley » Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:02 pm

No, you're right -- I must have either been dreaming (or perhaps I was looking at a drawing I did with peaked points). Apparently it puts exactly one additional point right in the middle of each line segment.

Still, that's no biggie for me since I'm creating the shapes in AI in the first place: not really going to be redrawing anything and if I *am* manipulating points (like in an animation) I'll be mass selecting them anyway (so whether five or ten if really doesn't matter). It *would* be nice if AS had a "simplify shape" similar to AI, though.

CS3 doesn't have the ability to export as AI 5.5 so I can't test, but the shapes come into AS (at least on my dual Pentium machine) instantaneously (there is no lag even on complicated drawings -- easily less than 1/2 second), so I can't see why a different format would be any advantage to me.
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Post by Danimal » Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:25 pm

When I tested using AI export 6 and 8 they both loaded instantly as well.

The extra points will really only make a difference in SWF export, I believe, but I'm certainly no expert (export expert? :lol: )
~Danimal
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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:42 pm

Hah!

I never bothered checking with 6 or 8 I got excited when I checked 5.5. :oops:

You guys have faster machines... or this is a mac thing.

-vern
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